Truth: The only thing dogs love more than treats and belly rubs are walks.
“Let’s go for a walk!!”
And not only are walks fun, but they’re an excellent way to keep our four-legged friends in shape. In fact, walking is crucial to maintaining your pup’s physical and mental well-being. Veterinarians agree that regular walks can reduce bad behavior like chewing, digging or scratching. Plus, walks calm pups down and reduce their hyperactivity, excitability and even nighttime activity. (If that’s the case, just imagine how zen’d out they’d be if they were in a doggy day care running around all day!)
Given how important walks are for dogs’ health and well-being, we found ourselves wondering, “Well, are there cities that are better for taking your dog out on a walk than others?” We knew that sites like WalkScore.com created ranked lists of the most “walkable” cities for humans, but we couldn’t find the same types of city “walkability” scores for our pups. So, we decided to make our own.
In a new report, Care.com data analysts compiled the average minutes per dog walk from Care.com jobs, the amount of dog parks per 10,000 residents, and each city’s official WalkScore.com WalkScore to create our very own “Dog Walkability Score.” After they crunched the numbers, our analysts ranked 29 cities by how “walkable” they are for dogs.
Take a look at the infographic below to see if your city made the cut for the top 10 most walkable cities for dogs:
So, the next big question is: How long should these walks be?
According to the ultimate animal whisperer Cesar Millan, a daily 30- to 60-minute walk is ideal (but some breeds need more time outdoors than others). Only San Francisco, America’s top-ranked dog-walking city, met Millan’s goal. In San Francisco, dog walkers spent an average of 32 minutes per walk; in Portland, it was 29 minutes; in Seattle, walkers averaged 26 minutes per stroll; in Tampa, folks spent about 23 minutes per walk; and in Washington, D.C., dog walkers took pups out for about 26 minutes each time.
It also turned out that the more dog parks a city had, the more motivated pet parents seemed to be to take their pets out every day. From our data, we discovered that, per 10,000 people, Portland has five dog parks, San Francisco has three, and Seattle has two — but also is known for welcoming dogs in most of its 400+ parks.
Below, we’ve provided the full chart of 29 cities included in this study, ranked in the order of their Overall Dog Walking Score:
|Rank||Primary City||WalkScore||Mins per Walk Score||Dog Parks Score||Overall Dog Walking Score|
This study gathered data from 29 cities and ranked them based on the following metrics: average minutes per dog walk from Care.com positions, dog parks per 10,000 residents from The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, and the 2016 City & Neighborhood Ranking from WalkScore.com.
Each metric is normalized on a scale of 0 to 100, and then equally weighted to create the Overall Dog Walking Score.
Want to check out more of our studies? Feel free to peruse this list:
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